"Holy cow! I should do it!"

– Ching-Yee, Sprogs

My name is Ching-Yee and I founded Sprogs. We make a fresh snack called Rice Scooters. Our mission and vision is to help people to have an alternative to the shelf-stable, dry, heavily processed, sugary-sweet things that we all frequently snack on, and instead put real, fresh savory food into a fun, portable and convenient package. I started this about 3 years ago and we’ve been in market for two years. It’s been an incredibly humbling experience, and quite a roller coaster ride!

I would say that there are two driving emotions with a new business. I don’t know whether to call it fear or frustration on one end because you’re constantly facing chicken and egg scenarios. “I would make money if I had a machine to make me more profitable but I need money to buy the machine and I don’t have that  money.” It’s non-stop. On the high end I have felt so much gratitude for customers and partners who have been incredibly supportive and generous. Kiva falls into that bucket!

I didn’t know about Kiva until about 6 months ago. I got a check in the mail from Bi-Rite Market (one of the local stores that sells Sprogs) and inside the envelope was a slip of paper with a cute little photo that said “We’ve helped our producers raise 0% interest financing on Kiva- check it out!” I spend most of my time in the kitchen so I didn’t check it out for a couple of months, but when I finally did check it out I was like “is this for real?”

We’ve been approached by a lot of people to apply for financing or investors but there’s always a catch, example requiring lots of personal collateral. I’ve put so much of my blood, sweat, tears and personal money into it that there’s no more I can offer. So Kiva made me think: “Holy Cow! I should do it! There’s no reason not to do it."

At the very least, I figured Kiva would provide an easy way to organize friends and family who don’t want to make big investments but would be willing to drop a few pennies in a bucket for me. It turned out to be so much more. I was shocked and thrilled and so grateful that there were strangers- people I’d never met or talked to or wouldn’t know me from Adam - who made a loan.

It’s funny, because running my own business has been the scariest, most exhausting, humbling thing I’ve ever done in my life, (even including parenting). But it’s also given me - not to sound cheesy, sorry-   a lot of hope in humanity because on a daily basis we bump into so much good will and generosity in the world that I didn't even know existed when I had an easier life. The process itself was incredible easy, so for anyone who’s considering doing it, I say – “Do it! Don’t wait!”

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About the author

Adam Kirk

I'm from a town in Washington State known for it's bike racks and hops (Yakima), and coincidentally, I love to mountain bike and discover new delicious beers. I went to undergrad in Vancouver, BC (UBC) and grad school in Monterey, CA (MIIS). I was in the Peace Corps in Albania from 2010-2012, where I met my wife and learned that you need to boil milk before you drink it. I moved to the Bay Area in 2012 and call Oakland my home. I've worked in digital marketing and product management for the past five years, which has given me an outlet for tinkering and learning new things.